Personal Training: Finding the Right Trainer for You

Personal Training: Finding the Right Trainer for You

Whether committing to new fitness goals or finding new ways of sustaining them, Pro Results® personal training may be the key to unlocking your potential and getting the results you’ve always wanted. Many wellness enthusiasts have no problem with living an active lifestyle. Some can credit their childhood with seeing examples of healthy living or competing in sports during their adolescence.  However, others are not as adept in motivating themselves to work out or eat healthier.  No matter where you fall on this spectrum, everyone can benefit from some expert guidance to improve, motivate, or encourage your fitness journey.

So, if you are ready to make that jump into the uncharted abyss of personal training, here are some key points you may want to include when choosing who can best assist you on ensuring that your goals are met.

1. Identify your personal fitness goals.

This step is vital in getting the most out of your personal training. If you don’t identify what you want to achieve or why you run the risk of investing time and money with someone who isn’t able to effectively guide you toward achieving your fitness goals. In a way, a personal trainer’s assessment is similar to a physician’s approach when you’re feeling under the weather.

A physician recommends appropriate tests or remedies for helping you feel better after assessing how you’re feeling. This comes with the right amount of honest conversation, in order for you to be on your way toward the best version of you. Before consulting with any fitness guru or expert, know your needs first, as they will be an internal guide when gaging if personal training is working for you. Remember, you’re the client and you set the precedence for how your trainer distinguishes a proper plan of action for you.

2. Consulting with a Personal Trainer.

Once you identify what you want to achieve, you’re ready to do a little window-shopping. This part of the process doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds. The ball is essentially in your court – you are “hiring” this person to be your guide on your fitness journey. Once a reputable LA Fitness Pro Results® employee assesses your goals, they will partner you up with a trainer whom they feel will best be able to facilitate your fitness concerns. If for some reason the fit doesn’t feel right for you, you can always re-approach the Personal Training Director and ask for an alternative trainer.

Finding out if they are a good match comes down to two essential things: 1) do they fully understand your needs and 2) are you two compatible. LA Fitness has a selection of certified personal trainers for you to choose from.  (*Disclaimer: Each club has a different selection of training staff available. Be sure to check in with the personal training department of your home club to see what is available to you.) No matter how credible or how many years of experience your trainer has under their belt, selecting the right trainer for you comes down to whether you two work well together.

The trainer and client relationship is just that, a relationship. Therefore, enjoying the trainer’s company and his or her approach to fitness and health is key.

3. Seek recommendations.

Perhaps the easiest way to make your decision of who to commit to on your fitness journey is hearing from people who have trained with the trainer you potentially want to work with or asking a club manager. Getting some else’s insight on a personal trainer can better assist you when making your final decision. LA Fitness club managers are great resources to utilize. Most gyms also include a short bio on the trainer, which is very helpful in getting an insight into the trainer’s experience.

4. Uphold your end of the bargain.

No matter how wonderful or credible your personal trainer may be, they are simply guides and an added source of accountability for you. It is important to own your contribution to this new level of commitment. Applying what your personal trainer suggests to your life in and outside of the gym is going to be worth more of your time and money spent in between your training sessions.

5. Progress check.

It is absolutely okay to take a step back during these sessions and assess how you are feeling. As you progress in your fitness journey, your needs may evolve as well. Check in with yourself and reflect on how your training is or isn’t going with the goals you initially set. Ask yourself questions like, “Have my goals changed? Am I being challenged enough? Are my needs being properly addressed?” Continue having open lines of communication with your trainer to see to it that you are getting the most out of your time together.

Like anything else, personal training is what you make it, and what you want to get out of it. Starting there, at the goals you wish to achieve, and finding someone who will guide you in reaching those goals can make for a fulfilling experience along your fitness journey.

Personal training can be that extra boost you need to switch out of your mundane gym visits or be the foundational basis for your fitness regimen. No matter where you find yourself on the journey, approach this aspect of wellness with purpose and with the added knowledge that you don’t have to reach your goals on your own.

Schedule a personal fitness assessment today! Not a member yet? Try us out for 3-days free.

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The Top 10 Most Popular Exercises and How to Perform Them Properly

The Top 10 Most Popular Exercises and How to Perform Them Properly

Instead of thinking of this as your one-stop-shop gym guide, think of it as an intro to some of the top most popular exercises, and how to perform them properly. Once you have a handle on the basic exercises below, try out some of the advanced alternatives to step up your exercise game!

#1 Burpee

  • Muscles Targeted: Arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs.
  • The How-to:
    • Begin in your basic neutral standing position.
    • Bring your palms to the floor while simultaneously squatting down.
    • Kick your legs back to a plank position.
    • Immediately bring feet back to squat position.
    • Push yourself upward into a jump and repeat.
  • Advanced Movement: Once you’ve mastered the basic burpee, you can increase the level of difficulty by trying a burpee with a pushup. Perform the same moves as a basic burpee but add a pushup before bringing your feet back into the starting squat position and jumping upward.

#2 Bodyweight Squat

  • Muscles Targeted: Quadriceps, glutes, adductors, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, and abs.
  • The How-to:3
    • Begin with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Your feet should be slightly turned outward, only about 5 to 20 degrees.
    • Keep your head facing forward, don’t tilt it back or tilt it forward.
    • Push your hips backward and bend your knees. Keep your weight in the back of your heels. You can test this by wiggling your toes. If you can, you are balanced correctly.
    • Keep your spine in a neutral position and make sure your knees don’t go past your feet.
    • Once your hip joint is lower than your knees, push yourself back up to your original standing position. Squeeze your glutes at the top for some extra muscle building.
  • Advanced Movement: Once you’ve mastered the basic bodyweight squat, you can increase the level of difficulty by trying a weighted squat or barbell squat. Your form should remain the same, but now you’ll have the weight of a barbell resting on your shoulders. It might be best to start off on an assisted squat machine, if not, and you’re a beginner, try having a friend or fellow gym-goer spot you.

#3 Lunges

  • Muscles Targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
  • The How-to:
    • Begin in a neutral standing position. Bring one leg forward, about 2 to 3 feet, and bend both knees.
    • Your forward leg should not bend past your knee. Keep at a 90-degree angle.
    • Push off with forwarding leg to return to neutral standing position. Switch legs and repeat.
  • Advanced Movement: Once you’ve mastered the basic lunge, you can increase the level of difficulty by trying a weighted side lunge. Grab a set of dumbbells and lunge to the side of your body. This helps work the inner thighs too!

#4 Plank

  • Muscles Targeted: Abdominals and back muscles.
  • The How-to:
    • Lie on the floor or an exercise mat with your stomach facing down and elbows tucked under your shoulders. You should be resting on your forearms with your arms facing down.
    • Tighten your abdominal muscles. Push your heels out. Your feet should be balanced by your tiptoes.
    • Push yourself up onto your forearms, much like you would in a push-up position.
    • Keep your neck in neutral alignment with your spine.
    • Hold for as long as possible before lowering yourself back onto the floor.
  • Advanced Movement: Once you’ve mastered the plank, you can increase the level of difficulty by trying a side plank. Instead of assuming a pushup position, lay on your side and push yourself up off the ground, balancing on your forearm and the side of your foot. Hold for as long as possible. Once finished, switch sides.

Shown: Advanced movement. Side plank. 

#5 Bench Press

  • Muscles Targeted: Chest, front shoulders, triceps brachii, and back.
  • The How-to:
    • Begin by lying on the bench with your eyes directly underneath the bar.
    • Grab the bar with a medium grip, include your thumbs around it.
    • Straighten your arms upward, un-racking the bar.
    • Bring the bar to your mid-chest and press back up to the beginning position with straight arms.
    • Safety tip: It’s always smart to have a spotter when performing a bench press. In case the weight gets too heavy, you have someone who can help safely return the bar to the rack.
  • Advanced Movement: Once you’ve mastered the basic bench press, increase the level of difficulty by increasing your weight. Always make sure you’re not pushing yourself past your fitness level, to prevent potential injury.

#6 Kettlebell Swing*

  • Muscles Targeted: Hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats, abs, shoulders, pecs, and grip.
  • The How-to:7
    • Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart holding the kettlebell in a firm grip.
    • Squat down while simultaneously swinging the kettlebell through your legs.
    • Stand up and swing the kettlebell forward, making sure you keep your grip firm.
    • The kettlebell should not come higher than the face/chin level for a basic kettlebell swing.
  • Advanced Movement: This exercise is pretty great as is. Trying variations of this move could potentially do damage to your shoulders, so for safety reasons, we recommend sticking to the basics on this one.
  • Disclaimer: *Not all LAF clubs have kettlebells.

#7 Lat Pulldown

  • Muscles Targeted: Latissimus dorsi (back), biceps and forearm.
  • The How-to:
    • Stand tall and grab the bar while simultaneously sitting down on the bench. Your arms should be in a “V”-shape.
    • Keep elbows pointed down. Pull the bar down towards your chest, squeezing your lats (back muscles).
    • Lower the bar to your chin or slightly below.
  • Advanced Movement: Once you’ve mastered the basic lat pulldown, increase the level of difficulty by increasing your weight. Always make sure you’re not pushing yourself past your fitness level, to prevent potential injury.

#8 Russian Twist

  • Muscles Targeted: Abdominals/obliques.
  • The How-to:
    • Sit on the floor and place your feet under something weighted or use a workout partner to help hold your feet in place.
    • Bend your body back slightly and twist/rotate from side to side.
  • Advanced Movement: Once you’ve mastered the basic Russian twist, you can increase the level of difficulty by balancing your feet off the ground or holding weights when you twist.

#9 Leg Press

  • Muscles Targeted: Quadriceps, calves, glutes, hamstrings and hip adductors.
  • The How-to:
    • Sit on machine with head and back on padded bench.
    • Please your heels flat against the footplate. Your feet should be about hip-width apart. Make sure your knees aren’t inward or outward. They should align with your feet.
    • Carefully release the assist handle, making sure you have the appropriate weight on the machine beforehand and bend your knees towards your body.
    • Push away, back to starting position. Repeat.

#10 Curl

  • Muscles Targeted: Biceps.
  • The How-to:
    • Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand.
    • Keep elbows close to your body with your palms facing outward.
    • Curl weights upwards towards your shoulders while contracting your biceps.
    • Lower back to starting position. Repeat.
  • Advanced Movement: Once you’ve mastered the basic bicep curl, increase weight for a more enhanced burn.


  1. Dima, et al. “Five Reasons Why Burpees Should Be Your Favorite Exercise.” 12 Minute Athlete, 27 Nov. 2012,
  2. Rail, Kevin. “Muscles Targeted While Performing Squats.” COM, Leaf Group,
  3. Ardison, Staci. “How to Squat Properly – A Step-By-Step Guide.” Nerd Fitness, 7 Dec. 2018,
  4. Farley, Ashley. “What Muscles Do Lunges Target?” COM, Leaf Group,
  5. Lowis, Steven. “Muscles Contraction During Plank Exercise.” COM, Leaf Group,
  6. Reifkind, Tracy. “Swing For The Fences: Kettlebell Training-Burn Fat And Build Muscles!” com,, 27 July 2018,
  7. Vennare, Jen. “How to Do the Perfect Kettlebell Swing.” Greatist, Greatist, 10 July 2017,
  8. Cespedes, Andrea. “What Muscle Does the Lateral Pulldown Work?” com, 21 Nov. 2017,

Recommended Reading

HIIT Results in Weight Loss

HIIT Results in Weight Loss

Watch out because we’re about to HIIT you with some facts (that’s the only pun, I swear).

HIIT, otherwise known as high-intensity interval training, is a fast yet challenging way to get your workout in and continue burning calories afterward your workout as well. This is due to the Afterburn Effect” caused by EPOC, or post-exercise oxygen consumption. EPOC can help HIIT enthusiasts burn calories for up to 36 hrs. after their workout!*

Shorter workout periods and longer calorie-burning times? It sounds too good to be true.

(But it’s not.)

HIIT incorporates functional exercises, core training, cardio interval training, and strength training. The key is focusing on different heart rate training zones. Each zone uses a different percentage of max heart rate, allowing for different types of burns. While there are different types of HIIT workouts ranging from 10 minutes, all the way to an hour, HIIT by LAF uses the full hour so you get the best workout to help maximize your endurance, calorie burn, and fat loss.

In order to achieve the “Afterburn Effect”, you should maintain staying within 80% to 89% of your max heart rate for 15-25 minutes throughout your workout. This is when carbohydrates and fats go through supply variances and help contribute to the burn. Due to HIIT being based around heart rate, a heart rate monitor is suggested in order to properly monitor your workout.

In a HIIT by LAF class, MYZONE Heart Rate monitors are worn. MYZONE uses the HUNT formula to calculate max HR.

HUNT Formula

Max HR = 211 – (0.64 x age)

For example, a 28-year-old female would calculate her max HR like this –

Step 1: Multiple 0.64 x 28 (person’s age), which equals 17.92.

Step 2: Subtract that number (17.92) from 211, which equals a maximum heart rate of 193.08.

0.64 x 28 = 17.92

211 – 17.92 = 193.08

HIIT and Weight Loss

The whole purpose of interval training is to help increase calorie burn and build more lean muscle mass. With HIIT, the body may be burning through more calories than it’s used to, depending on your old routine. Because of this, it’s super important that you’re giving your body the nutrition it needs in order to sustain a high-intensity workout – and that means plenty of protein.

Check out our list of protein suggestions you may want to add to your diet!


Thinking about giving HIIT by LAF a try? Find out more by checking out some FAQs here.

The Living Healthy Podcast recently published an episode that dives further into what HIIT training encompasses, who HIIT training benefits the most, and why it may be worth adding to your exercise routine. LA Fitness Master Trainer, Geoff F., is our expert on the matter. Listen to the full episode, here.

Visit one of the following LA Fitness locations and try out a HIIT by LAF class today!*


Tinley Park (Signature Club)

Coming Soon!









*Results may vary. HIIT by LAF is available to LA Fitness members 16 years of age or older (or at least 13 years of age and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian) who have purchased Spectrum-branded programming, as indicated on such members’ membership agreements. A parent or legal guardian must sign membership agreement on behalf of members under 18 years of age. Non-LA Fitness members must provide valid I.D. and sign a waiver of liability to use HIIT by LAF studios. Please visit a HIIT by LAF studio for more information, including membership options and pricing.

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Member Spotlight | Meet Female Stuntwoman and Mom, Danielle G. – Part 1

Member Spotlight | Meet Female Stuntwoman and Mom, Danielle G. – Part 1

Meet Danielle G., a stuntwoman and mama-bear who wasn’t always the strong superwoman she is today. In college, Danielle weighed well over 200 lbs., wore size 18 pants, and felt uncomfortable in her own skin. Wanting to make a change, she started training at a local gym but a move to a new area brought with it limited access to the gym she was attending. As a result, her training started to slack, there was a decrease in motivation and subsequently, she began regaining the weight she had lost. A friend and mentor of Danielle introduced her to LA Fitness and encouraged her to continue with her training. Danielle credits the wide range of LA Fitness gym locations for making it possible for her to continue training again. With training once again underway, Danielle set a goal for herself to compete in her first ever NPC (National Physique Committee) Figure Competition. When the big day finally arrived, she recalls being in the best shape of her life.

“With the open environment, friendly gym goers (some of which I call friends now), I continued to see improvements in myself and was planning on competing again, but then I was given the blessings of being a mom (well, stunt mom).”

Danielle G.

LA Fitness Member

Even once pregnant, that didn’t stop Danielle from continuing her training at LA Fitness. She combines weightlifting and cardio and pulls ideas from the LA Fitness Living Healthy blog on nutrition to help her better balance her diet at the same time. Many of Danielle’s friends at her home gym are impressed with her continued dedication. She plans to stay a healthy mom and to continue her training to become a better and stronger stuntwoman. She is a firm believer that if there is a will there is a way. While she is now a mom, she believes that it is possible to find a balance between family and yourself. Danielle hopes to one day get back on stage for her second NPC figure competition.

“Don’t let excuses get in the way of what you want. Whether single or a mom, make sure to take time to take care of your health because if there is no you then the family will suffer.”

Danielle G.

LA Fitness Member

Typical Gym Routine

My typical gym routine is basically working to separate muscle groups (i.e., legs and arms, biceps and back, etc.) for about an hour, followed with 30-45 min of cardio, and some days strict cardio only. Always mixing it up to keep the body aware.

Nutrition –

In the very beginning (college days), I would eat whatever was in front of me. Originally obtaining my degree in medicine meant a lot of stress dealing with early to late night classes, lab time and exams. So, I did a lot of emotional/stress eating, such as eating fried foods, high carbs, sugars, you name it. When I was prepping for my competition and my career as a stuntwoman, I was on a stricter diet. I was on a high protein low carb diet eating about 1,675 calories per day and drinking a gallon of water per day as well. I focused primarily on making sure I was meeting my macro count per day. Eventually, I was seeing about 0.5-1 lb. of weight loss per week. Occasionally there were times I plateaued, but with encouragement, the weight continued to drop. I had to keep reminding myself it took me time to get to being overweight, so it’s going to take time to get it off.

Changing Lifestyle –

In all honesty, I wasn’t happy with who I was with the amount of weight I was carrying. I didn’t feel attractive at all. And in complete honesty, it took one guy, when I was in college, who was the first to tell me he loved me. That made me think: how could he love me when I didn’t love myself?! Talk about a wakeup call. I gave myself a hard look at myself, being over 200lbs and asthmatic where the outside world literally was my enemy. I knew I had to make a change. So that initially started me on my journey to redevelop myself into the person I wanted to be. I focused on finding a balance between school and going to the gym with diet, and slowly started to see the changes that I didn’t think could happen for me.

Setbacks –

I don’t care if you are an average person or the fittest person in the world – there are always setbacks. And it’s really just finding that push/dedication to overcome it and not make bland excuses. For me, it wasn’t just being overweight; being asthmatic also was a huge setback for me. How did I overcome it? I just listened more to my body and the orders of my doctor. I figured by doing that, it would mean a faster way for me to get back into the gym and continue training.

Active Lifestyle & Career –

Fitness plays a huge role for me as a stuntwoman. You must not be just mentally strong, but physically strong and flexible as well. If I was going into my career being overweight as I was, that would have made it difficult, if not impossible. The physical aspects of the job are so demanding that being overweight will not just tire you out faster, but it would also be so much harder on the joints, increasing chances of injury. So, striving to be not skinny but fit is imperative. Fitness is also important especially for stuntwomen in the fact that the clothes and pads we have to wear on set are sometimes minimal compared to our male counterparts. So the added weight, in addition to pads and clothes when you are doubling for the actress can be a big thing.

👉 Subscribe to Living Healthy and keep an eye out for Part 2 of Danielle’s fitness journey, coming soon!

Recommended Reading

AAT: Ep. 30 – How to Improve Leg and Hip Strength and Increase Stamina

AAT: Ep. 30 – How to Improve Leg and Hip Strength and Increase Stamina

Ask A Trainer: Featured Question of the Week

LA Fitness Pro Results® Master Trainer, Stone T., gives his expert advice on increasing stamina and improving leg and hip strength – it’s a double question, bringing double the amount of advice.

Do you have a fitness question? Ask one of our certified Pro Results® trainers here! Your question may be featured in an upcoming Ask Our Trainer video.**

8 + 12 =

**Selected submissions will be featured on the LA Fitness blog and possibly other LA Fitness digital media entities & websites. By making a submission, you hereby grant LA Fitness a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable license to use and make copies of the contents of such submission for any purpose and in any medium whatsoever, and you hereby waive and relinquish any copyright or other intellectual property right you may have in the contents of such submission and your right to pursue any claim for LA Fitness’s violation of those intellectual property rights.

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